When a couple decide to separate eventually consideration will turn to whether the separation is permanent and if so should there be a divorce or legal separation.
Obtaining advice from a family law specialist early on in the process is vital so that you can understand the options available and make an informed decision. It is also crucial to obtain information and advice about your financial position to protect the financial assets and understand your entitlements.
When parents separate we are often asked what orders are needed.
In fact, the Court operates what is called a “No Order Principal”. It believes it is preferable for parents who are divorcing or separating to reach an agreement between themselves and have “no order” rather than have an agreement or Order imposed on them by third parties.
The Court will only make an Order if it believes it is in the child’s best interests to do so and if there are substantial issues or disputes which cannot be resolved by other mechanisms. Parents are encouraged to find a forum for resolving any issues or difficulties they have outside the Court arena, such as mediation or a roundtable meeting with the other party and their solicitor. Most parties are advised to take legal advise whilst going through mediation so they understand their rights and obligations and the kind of Order the Court will make if an application ultimately has to be made to the Court. familyHopefully this will then make it easier to reach a reasonable agreement between them.
Previously if an application was made to Court, the Court would usually make contact and residence orders which sets out where the child lived and the contact they had with the other party. These however have now been withdrawn as it was felt that the party without residence would feel they did not have equal rights whilst the parent with residence may feel they had more rights to dictate terms of how a child was looked after to the other party.
If an application is made to Court now, the Court will now make a Child Care Arrangements Order which in general will set out how much time the child spends with each party. In addition, it used to be the case that on every application for a children’s order, a CAFCASS Officer, which is a Court Welfare Officer, would get involved and do an investigation and recommendation.
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